Public Rambling: Season recap on Atchafalaya Delta WMA

Stalking hogs provides adrenaline rush, yields solid results

Hey guys, sorry this season follow up is so late, but we experienced some technical difficulties that are in the process of being resolved.

The deer and hog season was pretty successful for us — we killed a total of 10 deer in my group, which consisted of me, Randy Levingston, David Simoneaux and Casey Louis.

Randy’s beautiful 8-point and Casey’s 7-point were the best of our group.

And the special Atchafalaya Delta WMA hog season was an absolute blast for us. We made quite a few exciting hunts and were fortunate enough to put nine hogs in our freezers. We hunted several different islands, trying not to push the hogs too hard with our presence and human scent.

We hunted/scouted at the same time, formulating  a planned strategy to suit the area. We then put that plan into action and got very good results for our efforts.

The tricky part with hog hunting is that you only get a couple of chances (or less) before they relocate or go completely nocturnal – so strategy and experience are paramount.

We used .22 mag Marlin rifles with scopes and had very good first-shot kill results. What helped out considerably was the stalking we did to get as close as possible to the hog before taking the shot. Talk about an adrenaline rush.

Many times we were stalking hogs by sound and/or partial sightings. Not knowing how big the hog was, or if it was getting ready to charge us, was very unsettling but super exciting: it’s amazing how close you get to a hog if the circumstances are right.

First and foremost is the wind.

If it’s not in your favor, you’re pretty much out of luck unless you can get a long open shot. None of our shots were more than 60 yards, and most were within 25 yards. If the wind is in your favor and the hog is eating, you can get by with quite a bit of  noise during your stalk.

Sometimes when they are in a thicket, there is no choice but to make some noise to get an open shot, and we did get busted a few times. Mostly it was because the wind was wrong, or we cracked a branch and the unseen hog bolted. It helps so much if you can see the hog before it sees you.

The biggest advantage we had this season was that many times we heard the hogs grunting or cracking vegetation long before we ever saw them. After locating the area of the sound, we were able to formulate a strategy and then approach from the correct wind direction. It wasn’t foolproof, but it did work out well for us many times.

Each hog season has been different so far, but the one constant is the valuable experience we’ve been gaining. This gives us confidence in our methods as we learn what works and what doesn’t.

All of the hogs we shot this season were shot from the ground during a stalk. Seven of the nine hogs we shot were taken with at least two of us on the hunt. It definitely helps to have two or more hunters to share in the long drag back to the boat.

I killed a fairly large hog late in the season on a solo trip. I was deep into one of the islands, the temperature was in the 80s and it took me 2 hours and 20 minutes to get that big thing back to my boat. It wasn’t so much the distance as the soft muck that took me so long and drained all of my energy.

And I have a nice aluminum cart in my boat, but it’s not conducive to pulling through soft mud — certain areas of the Delta are much tougher to get an animal out than others.

Hunting hogs is every bit as much fun for us as hunting deer, and in some ways even more challenging.

Our hunting season began on October 1 and ended March 31. Some years, by the end of the season, I was ready to be done. I always put a tremendous amount of time and effort in, but these special hog seasons have reenergized me.

As much as I love to fish, I could have easily kept on chasing hogs this year instead.

If you haven’t tried it, and you like the taste of wild pork like I do, you should give it a shot. Shoot me an email if you need any tips on getting started, and I will be happy to help you out.

Be safe and God bless!

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